MADISON - With the start of classes for the spring semester at Wisconsin on Tuesday, the Badgers officially welcomed seven newcomers to the Wisconsin football program.
The Badgers' crop of early enrollees includes four scholarship players, three linebackers, a pair of offensive linemen, a safety and a quarterback. All seven will be freshmen for the Badgers in 2014.
BadgerNation breaks down the first official members of the 2014 recruiting class
Cottage Grove (WI) Monona Grove offensive lineman Jaden Gault
Overall Ranking: 141
Position Ranking: 9
Selected for U.S. Army All-American Bowl … as a senior, named first-team All-American by MaxPreps … first-team all-state by Associated Press and Wisconsin Football Coaches Association as a junior and senior … led Monona Grove to 2013 Wisconsin Division 3 state championship … won Badger South Conference titles in each of final three seasons … three-time unanimous All-Badger South Conference selection … did not allow a sack in three seasons as starter on offensive line … also lettered in track and field.
"The first thing that stood out about Gault was his length. He's got long arms with great reach, but isn't thin either. He's got great footwork, nice flexibility and natural knee bend, and keeps the feet chopping in run blocking. In pass pro, he does a great job delivering that initial punch, then keeping his balance to keep the defender at bay. He handled the quicker pass-rushing ends relatively easy."
- National Recruiting Analyst Brandon Huffman, who scouted Gault at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl
Jacksonville (FL) Jean Ribault quarterback D.J. Gillins
Overall Ranking: NR
Position Ranking: 46
Four-year starter at quarterback for Eagle's View Academy and Ribault, throwing for 7,271 yards and 76 touchdowns … threw for 2,000 yards in three separate seasons … also ran for 775 yards and 13 TDs … three-time all-state selection … transferred to Ribault for senior season, throwing for 2,371 yards and 22 touchdowns while running for 602 yards and eight rushing scores en route to all-state and All-Gateway Conference honors … as a junior at Eagle's View, completed first pass of season for 55-yard touchdown before tearing ACL on second drive of season-opening game … as a sophomore, threw for 2,667 yards and 31 touchdowns while rushing for another five TDs, earning all-state honors … threw for 2,178 yards and 22 TDs as a freshman to earn all-state honorable mention … named to All-Combine Team at 2012 Orlando Nike Sparq Combine … four-year team MVP … four-year team captain … also competed in basketball and track and field.
D.J. Gillins is intriguing and athletic quarterback prospect who had a great senior season after missing all of his junior season in 2012 with a knee injury. On his senior highlight tape the 6-3 and 195-pound signal-caller showed very little if any negative carry-over from his injury in 2013. Gillins is a mobile quarterback with a strong arm who will only continue to get better with experience and coaching.
The early-enrollee at Wisconsin has very quick feet and is comfortable moving around and buying time in the pocket. Gillins is also athletic and fast enough to get to perimeter and is a threat to run the ball. As a passer Gillins throws a nice deep ball with touch giving his receivers a chance to go up and make a play. When Gillins, who has a tendency to throw the ball off his back foot, does get time to set up\ in the pocket and transfer his weight, he does have very good arm strength. He demonstrated accuracy when throwing on the run.
At times because of his athletic ability he has a tendency to hold onto the ball too long. In college he will have to learn to simply get rid of the ball at times due to the fact that it will be much harder to avoid being sacked at the major college level.
-Florida recruiting analyst Patrick Burnham, who covers the Jacksonville area.
Tampa (FL) Plant Senior defensive back Austin Hudson
Overall Ranking: NR
Position Ranking: 89
His 4.4 40-yard dash time is just what Wisconsin needs to increase its speed in the secondary and his 40-inch vertical jump will help create more pass deflections and turnovers for the defense, especially when you see him jump higher than most matched up against him. He's got a long, wiry body that with some added weight could make him a formidable matchup.
From talking to him, Hudson is an intelligent kid, which translates to the field. It seems he has everything Wisconsin is looking for in a player physically and mentally.
- BadgerNation publisher Benjamin Worgull, who scouted Hudson at UW's high school camp
Genoa (OH) offensive lineman Michael Deiter
Overall Ranking: NR
Position Ranking: 62
Named first-team All-Ohio on offensive line as a senior, also earning Associated Press District IV Lineman of the Year and Great Lakes Region Lineman of the Year honors while leading Genoa to 10-1 record … first-team All-Northern Buckeye Conference selection as a junior and senior … named all-conference as both offensive lineman and defensive lineman as a junior in 2012 … two-time first-team all-district pick … as a senior, ranked second at Genoa with 42 solo tackles, 17 tackles for loss and 6.5 sacks … also lettered in baseball.
Deiter was an unknown prospect until we watched him at the 2013 Midwest Elite Big Man Camp. It was there Deiter showed well during one-on-one drills using a solid base that allows him to keep his balance. A two-way performer in high school, Deiter should be expected to play guard or center at the college level and should compete early, as he's already got the physical build to battle. A strong run blocker who has the skill set to reach second level defenders, Deiter will need to continue working on his pass blocking skills and his early entrance at Wisconsin will give him a chance to start that work early.
- Recruiting analyst Dave Berk, who is based in Ohio.
LB Chasen Andersen (6-0, 220, Logan (UT) High)
Led all players in Utah, regardless of classification, with 160 tackles as a junior … also had 18 tackles for loss and four sacks … served as team captain of Logan team that claimed 2011 Utah Class 4A state championship … named first-team all-state by Desert News and Salt Lake Tribune … also named All-Cache Valley MVP and All-Region MVP … missed senior season after suffering knee injury in season-opening game … also lettered in baseball.
LB Matt Austin (6-3, 210, Fond du Lac (WI) St. Mary's Springs)
Named first-team all-state by Associated Press and Wisconsin Football Coaches Association as a senior after recording 131 tackles, 14 tackles for loss, five forced fumbles and an interception… also caught 10 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns … elected North Team captain at 2013 WFCA All-Star Game … helped St. Mary's Springs to back-to-back Wisconsin Division 6 state championships as a sophomore and junior (2011 and 2012) … as a junior, recorded 157 tackles, 14 TFLs, three forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries and an interception … two-time Wisconsin Flyway Conference Defensive Player of the Year … three-time All-Wisconsin Flyway selection … two-time all-region pick at linebacker … finished career with 346 tackles, 35 tackles for loss, seven sacks, nine forced fumbles, eight fumble recoveries -- three returned for touchdown -- and two interceptions … also a four-year letterwinner in hockey, earning All-Badgerland Conference honors three times … also lettered in track and field, earning all-conference honors twice.
LB Justin Schweitzer (6-1, 195, Silver Lake (WI) Wilmot)
Two-time All-Southern Lakes Conference selection at linebacker … led Wilmot in tackles as a junior … qualified for Wisconsin state meet in 110-meter hurdles as a junior … missed senior track season due to injury.